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The-Stealth-Ninja's avatar

Cigar Bands I



Well, here is a nice treat for those railfans who watch me for my trains.

I was on my way home from a jobsite yesterday, and as I was crossing the BNSF Hemet branchline in Highgrove, I happened to spot some headlights down the track a bit. After spending a few minutes exploring some streets I had never driven before and finding a place to pull over and park, I pulled out the cameras (I happened to have 3 with me, all in the front seat of my car). I found three locomotives idling on the track, just outside a small interchange track for some nearby industries. The lead unit (found with some help from an online locomotive roster :D) is a GP35U, an April 1964 Electro-Motive product, while the two trailing units are GP30Us, both March 1963 Electro-Motive products. I've always had a liking for the blue and yellow paint on the old geeps, and was somewhat surprised to see that it was rather new looking on these locomotives.

An interesting side note for the railfans... the BNSF branchline from Highgrove to Hemet, CA is part of what used to be the California Southern Railroad, a predecessor to the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe. The line was completed in 1882 extending from Colton, CA to National City, CA via East Riverside (Highgrove), Perris, Pinacate (Now the site of the Orange Empire Railway Museum), Elsinore, Temecula, and Fallbrook. A large storm in 1891 washed out a large portion of track along the line between Pinacate and Temecula which was not rebuilt due to the completion of the line through the Santa Ana Canyon to Los Angeles and points south. Today, the line extends through to Perris along most of the original route where in Perris the track splits to Hemet one way, and the other way follows along the original route a bit more to the home of the Orange Empire Railway Museum. Another interesting thing about this route, are the signals used on them. Spotted along the route are small semaphore type signals which I have never seen along any other line. I am sure they are quite old, although I could not tell you when they date from. If possible I will get a photo to see if anyone can tell me anything about them.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy. I just thought it was interesting finding a few older units on an old branchline in the area.

Please also see:
Cigar Bands II
Cigar Bands III
Cigar Bands IV
Cigar Bands V

For those interested:
A bit of history on the California Southern RR
ATSF/BNSF renumber, reletter & repaint roster
Image size
986x694px 497.1 KB
Canon EOS 20D
Shutter Speed
1/640 second
Focal Length
18 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Oct 19, 2005, 5:36:03 PM
© 2005 - 2023 The-Stealth-Ninja
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samreevesphoto's avatar
Very cool! It's hard to think that the GP35's are elderly now. ;)